International Opportunities Fund
Announcement of opportunity
Deadline for declaration of intention to submit: Wednesday 17 August 2011.
Closing date for full proposals:
Wednesday 21 September 2011 at 16:00.
The aim of the IOF Scheme is to facilitate international collaboration that is significantly aligned with NERC strategic priorities and will add value to existing UK environmental research and knowledge exchange capability. It aims to support activities that are not typically supported through NERC's usual funding schemes. This may include, for example, international programmes and networks; collaborative secondments and exchanges; major international workshops or conferences; pump-priming to attract inward investment to UK research institutions; or international project offices.
Joint UK-Brazil proposals, submitted under the terms of the RCUK-FAPESP Lead Agency Agreement, are welcomed.
The specific IOF Scheme objectives are as follows:
- to fund high impact, outcome focused, collaborative activities in areas of NERC strategic themes and challenges as expressed in the NERC Strategy 2007 - 2012, Next Generation Science for Planet Earth (2MB)
- to fund activities that require international collaboration at the centre of their approach, supporting UK leadership internationally, adding value through collaboration to UK capability and delivering outcomes that cannot be delivered by the UK alone
- to fund activities that have lasting outputs that are expected to have benefits beyond the duration of the IOF award (eg establishing long-term collaborations, pump-priming for ongoing, self-sustaining activities, and/or developing high-impact knowledge)
- to fund activities that are not typically supported through other NERC funding schemes
- to promote collaboration between UK researchers and those from NERC target countries as represented in the Belmont Forum of Global Environmental Change Research Funders and RCUK Overseas Offices1. (Collaborations with countries not represented on the Belmont Forum or with RCUK Overseas Offices will be considered, but a clear rationale for their prioritisation should be given.)
IOF awards may be up to 3 years in duration.
The total amount of funding available for this Call is anticipated to be approximately £1·3M. A maximum of £300K (100% FEC) per award may be requested and NERC anticipates funding up to 4-6 awards. The NERC funding contribution will be 80% of FEC (with the standard exceptions paid at 100% FEC).
Substantial co-funding and/or in-kind support from overseas or international partners is a requirement of an IOF proposal, in order to maximise scope of the activity, leverage the UK contribution, and demonstrate the commitment of partners.
There is no minimum award size restriction. However, the size of the award should be appropriate to the activity that is being proposed, and only substantial projects that deliver high and lasting impact, and that leverage NERC funding, will be considered during the assessment process.
Applicants considering international collaboration with researchers from São Paulo State, Brazil, should note that this call will accept joint proposals to NERC-FAPESP (the State of São Paulo Research Foundation) under the terms of the RCUK-FAPESP Lead Agency Agreement (see Annex A of the Guidance for Applicants for further details).
Usual NERC eligibility criteria for investigators on research grants apply.
International partners are not eligible for direct funding from NERC. However, eligible UK organisations may submit a proposal that includes limited support for international partners; for example, there may be aspects of support (eg travel or hosting visiting researchers) provided from the UK award.
Individuals may submit no more than one application as Principal Investigator or Co-Investigator to this call.
Project studentships are not permitted with IOF Call proposals.
Further information on eligibility is available in the Research Grants Handbook.
NERC grants may be held at the following: approved UK Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), approved Research Institutes (RIs) and approved Independent Research Organisations (IROs). Full details of approved RIs and IROs can be found on the RCUK website.
Potential applicants should contact NERC well in advance of the submission deadline if they have any queries concerning their eligibility.
How to Apply
Lead applicants must register their intention to submit by contacting the IOF Programme Officer by Wednesday 17 August 2011.
If you fail to register your interest by this deadline, your proposal will not be accepted.
The closing date for receipt of full proposals will be Wednesday 21 September 2011 at 16:00.
Applications must be submitted using the Research Councils' Joint Electronic Submission system (Je-S). Please select Proposal Type 'Standard Proposal' and then select the Scheme 'International Opportunities Fund' and the Call 'IOF Call 2'.
To use the Je-S system, the applicant's Research Organisation must be registered as a Je-S user. Full details are available on the Je-S website. Further information can also be obtained by contacting the Je-S Helpdesk or by telephone on 01793 444164.
Applicants must ensure that their application is received by NERC by 16:00 on the closing date. Applicants should leave enough time for their application to pass through their own organisation's Je-S submission route before this date. Any application that is incomplete, received after the closing date, or does not meet NERC's eligibility criteria will be returned to the applicant and will not be considered.
In addition to NERC's usual guidelines (see the Research Grants Handbook), the Guidance for Applicants contains further information and guidance specific to this IOF Call. It is recommended that you read it before applying to the scheme.
Where the RCUK-FAPESP Lead Agency Agreement is being applied, applicants must attach both the FAPESP-RCUK Proposal Form and Consolidated Budget Form as supporting documents.
For further information about this Announcement of Opportunity please contact:
IOF Programme Officer
Tel: 01793 411712
1. Belmont Forum members are from the following countries/regions: Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, China, European Commission, France, Germany, India, Japan, Norway, South Africa, UK, and USA. Additionally, there are RCUK Overseas Offices in Europe (Brussels), China, India and USA.